Wednesday, 04 March 2009 14:43

Tejano music --Que Paso??

Tejano's phenomenal rise in the early '90s has been debated for years. Fans wonder if those gold rush days will ever return. Here, photographer/songwriterTejano Ray lays out his observations on what happened.


Growing up I was raised on American Top 40 and rock’n’roll. I was familiar with Little Joe Y La Familia and

 Agustin Ramirez but never bothered to by an album instead focusing Top 40 and classic rock. It was what was popular with my age group at the time.

(All photos courtesy of TejanoRay)

In the late 1980's my friend Gary Hobbs asked me to help him as road manager with his band Hot Sauce. It opened up a whole new world for me and I fell in love with the music. As a Tejano it was my country music.

It was something that reflected on my culture as a Mexican -American living in Texas. I always loved to dance and this music was made for dancing but it was much more.

I began to listen to the music to the words of the songs and to the different rhythms and styles that made Tejano music. I toured Texas and many states across the country and I was endeared more and more with the music as time went by. I was witness to many great shows and many different bands which left me with a lifetime of memories.

Along the way I met and befriended many artists which included Selena when she was just 15. I was not only at the Tejano music awards but I was back stage mingling with the artists and musicians. I didn’t realize I was in the midst of a boom in Tejano music being a part during the most successful time in the industry.

I got to find out just how hard a band works to get to one show how hard they have to set up then tear down after load up and move on to the next town living on the road was a lot harder than most think and living out of hotel rooms was not all as luxurious as some might think. Just imagine finishing a show in McAllen load up at 3am and head out to the next show in Lubbock. Every single band member could write a very interesting book on there adventures.

Now that I look back at all I was a part of I have had time to reflect on what is happening now that Tejano music seems to be at a low point in popularity. It’s not easy trying to pinpoint a reason for the decline as there are many some blame radio airplay some blame promoters some blame a lack of sponsors.

I believe it was a little bit of all of the above. Tejano music went from the ballrooms and clubs to the larger open air concerts most of them free to the public but later when bands came back to the smaller venues there were fewer people attending the shows and this ended up hurting the bands and especially the bands who were just starting out and could not be booked at the larger concert venues.

Will Tejano comes back to the gold rush days?
What will it take? What can fans do?

What did you think? Agree or disagree?
ave any other comments or observations,...leave them.

Read more in Tejano Ray's essay:
Tejano Music -- Que Paso?? Pt II